A lot of people don’t know that China has changed their visa requirements slightly, making it easier (and cheaper) for Americans to come see the country. Now, if you are staying for less than 72 hours, you get a free temporary visa with proof of departure from the country. Since Stacy and I had almost a full 24 hours in Shanghai, we decided to get a hostel for the night and explore the city before our flight to Bali the next day.
I arrived slightly before Stacy and waited in the arrivals area for her flight to get in. Once she arrived, we headed over to the Maglev train station, and purchased round trip tickets for $11. The Maglev is the fastest train in the world, clocking in at a cool 300 km/hour. You can take the metro into the city as well, which is a cheaper, but it will take over 30 minutes, whereas our train ride lasted 6 minutes to the first major metro station, Longyang Road. From there, we got on the metro, and for 75 cents (note: the metro is cash only! Don’t be like us and wander around for 35 minutes looking for an ATM!) rode 7 stops to People’s Station, where we walked another 10 minutes to our hostel. We found the Phoenix Hostel on recommendation from the blog the Uncontained Life, and it did not disappoint! We were just looking for a simple cheap place to stay and the Phoenix delivered. We had a nice private room with a double bed, toilet and shower, good wifi, and working air conditioning for $42.
In the morning Stacy and I were both up early and ready to go. It was a little chilly but warmed up to a nice 58 degrees as the day went on. We walked up to Nanjing Street, which is known for its shopping and department stores. The are also a lot of street vendors with food there, so we tried some moon cakes, small bites of meat in a croissant-like shell. They were pretty good! We browsed the shops while heading east towards The Bund. The Bund Promenade is a waterfront walk that gives you views of the skyscrapers across the Huang Pujiang River, including the iconic Pearl Tower (i.e. “the big pink one). You can also enjoy the contrast of the old architecture of the bank buildings on the east side of the river against the modern, steel of the buildings on the west. We stopped to see the Shanghai Bull, which is just like the bull on Wall Street in New York City- they were even designed by the same artist.
Before we checked out of our hotel and headed back to the airport, Stacy and I wanted to grab lunch somewhere. We poked around in some restaurants near our hostel and found an amazing noodle place right next door. For a total of $4.50 we got two giant bowls of chicken and noodles! There was so much food and it was so delicious, but we couldn’t even finish it! A great end to a successful 24 hours in Shanghai. Next stop, Bali!!